Friday, July 3, 2009

Lost ReWatch Week #5:...In Translation, Numbers, Deus Ex Machina

Thank goodness this week's Rewatch assignment was only three episodes, because I am already out of town for the holiday weekend! But let me tell you...this batch of episodes were particularly revelatory, and I have a tremendous list of thoughts and questions to explore with you.

If you're not already familiar with it, I recommend that you read my Weekly ReWatch Caveat before we begin. Everyone else...secure your overhead bins because you might experience some disagreement turbulence this week.

Abandon, Adapt, Adopt

Three key characters, all of whom escaped adoption at young ages...Aaron was born on the island before mom Claire had the opportunity to give him up. Locke grew up in foster homes but was never adopted by a family. Walt was actually adopted by his step-father Brian but then his real father Michael took guardianship when Walt's mom died.

Alternate Reality...Bites

...In Translation
Jin: In a GOOD world, she would hate him...not me. [referring to Sun and her father]
Jin's father: It is a good world.
Jin's father is obviously off island, which to me is an indication that the real world is good and the island is bad (including whomever resides and whatever happens there).

Deus Ex Machina
Locke: It was a dream but it was the most real thing I've ever experienced. I know where to go now.
Locke has a vision of a bloodied Boone, who is repeating the phrase "Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs." She was his childhood nanny.

Faraday had a research assistant (and girlfriend) named Theresa. After he subjected her to a time travel experiment, she wound up...stuck in time. They could very well be one and the same in alternate realities.

Crossing Paths

Hurley is on the TV in the background when Jin is "sending a message" on behalf of Mr. Paik.

Hurley is the majority shareholder of the box company that Locke worked at before Flight 815.

Even though we never see her there, it is revealed the Emily Locke (John's mother) had also been a patient at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute...as were Hurley, Leonard Simms and Libby.

[Sidenote: even though it fits and would make sense, Damon & Carlton have said that the man who was plummeting outside of the window as Hurley was discussing the cursed numbers was not Locke]

Goosebump-Inducing Dialogue

...In Translation
Jin: I want to go back to the beginning. Can't we just start all over?

Locke: Everyone gets a new life on this island, Shannon.

Locke: We're not the only people on this island, and we all know it. [seems like he points in general direction of The Statue as he says it]

Michael: It's just life. We'll start over.
Numbers
Martha Toomey: He put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
[immediate thought: Radzinsky! Alternate Reality?}

Martha Toomey: You make your own luck.
Deus Ex Machina
Emily Locke: I want to tell you that you're special, very special.

Anthony Cooper: Your mother - she may be a little crazy, but at least she brought us together. Thank God it happened now, while we STILL HAVE TIME.

Anthony Cooper: See you ON THE OTHER SIDE, son.
Literally!

Sawyer made a Lord of the Flies reference. Insert obvious parallels here: a plane crash, working together then taking sides, leaders and outcasts, a mysterious monster, strangers parachuting onto island, killing pigs, hallucinations, accidental deaths, fires, etc.

Loaded Title

Deus Ex Machina

You may want to switch on your leap-of-faith brain for this one....

Traditional definition of the phrase deus ex machina:

a god, introduced into a play to resolve the entanglements of the plot; a person who provides a sudden and unexpected solution to a difficulty
Deus ex machina literally translates into 'God from the machine.'

To me, there are several scenarios/people that fit the definition and/or description:
  • Daniel Faraday's time travel machine, allowing one's consciousness to time travel
  • Jacob
  • Smokey, who emanates mechanical sounds
  • Swan station computer
But of course there is no deterring me from linking it to the real Jeremy Bentham's panopticon prison.

Bentham designed the Panopticon as a 24/7 surveillance machine for an observer to watch the prisoners without their knowledge. In "Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison," his good friend and fellow philosopher Michael Foucault said the following:
This architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers.
During the EW Showrunner panel at Comic-Con in 2008, I had the opportunity to ask Damon and Carlton a question. Long story short, they confirmed that the panopticon was one of the reasons that they chose to use the name Jeremy Bentham.

For further contemplation...the Pearl hatch, used as an OBSERVATION & remote viewing station, is located smack dab in the middle of the machine/island. It was marked with a ? on the blast door map, probably because even Radzinsky and Kelvin Inman were unable to enter it or determine its use.

The Pearl logo is an empty white space (which reminds me of the inverted Lost logo that flashed at the end of the S5 finale after Juliet apparently detonated Jughead). Fascinating to say the least.

That this particular episode was Locke-centric only adds fuel to my theory fire. Oh, and this tremendously significant statement by Locke's mother Emily:
You're part of a DESIGN. You do realize that, don't you?
Relationship Development

After the S5 finale, I was disappointed and a tad peeved that Jack's primary reason for wanting to detonate Jughead; that he wanted a second chance with Kate.

But after rewatching Deus Ex Machina, I finally realized just how much Jack loved her from the beginning. I'm no 'shipper, but I do believe that Jack and Kate are meant to be (as were Sawyer & Juliet).
Kate (about Sawyer): Thank you for helping him. I know it was probably the last thing you wanted to do.
Jack: I didn't do it for him.
Shake the Disease

Whenever we find out that an ancillary character has an illness, I am skeptical and assume that they were either born on or have been to the island. For example:
  • Juliet's sister Rachel: cancer
  • Kate's mother Diane: undisclosed terminal illness
  • Locke's girlfriend Helen: brain aneurysm
  • Miles' mother Lara: undisclosed terminal illness
  • Sawyer's uncle: brain tumor
  • Walt's mom Susan: blood disorder
Swan Hatch

How is it that Desmond did not hear the trebuchet crashing down onto the hatch in an attempt to break the glass on the door, but finally turned on the light when Locke was banging on it with his fists?

The Visual & The Visceral

Locke's explanation of the game Mousetrap brought Faraday's rat maze to mind.

Locke turning the trebuchet wheel was reminiscent of his frozen donkey wheel stint.

The private detective that Locke hired to find his father handed over information in a red folder, just like the ones that Ben and Alpert used.

Anthony Cooper prepared his son a drink, just as he did right before pushing him out of an eight story window.

Hurley

Of course we'll never know, but I had completely forgotten about the fact that Hurley had a brother and wonder why we never saw him again.

When Hurley was blasting hip hop music from his yellow Hummer and sporting some gold bling after winning the lottery, I had to laugh. So not you, dude.

File under: discrepancy. Hurley was institutionalized for being traumatized after causing a deck to collapse due to his weight...and yet he does not hesitate to cross a rope bridge above a ravine.

When Hurley reunites with Sayid after encountering Rousseau in the jungle, he said "she says hey." Instant reminder of Ghost Ana Lucia's comment to Hurley in S5, "Libby says hi."

Jin & Sun

It occurred to me while watching Jin and Sun immediately following their wedding (...In Translation) that Jin put their honeymoon on hold right after Jacob had told them that "your love is a very special thing; don't take it for granted."
Note: yet another use of the word special.

Of course Mr. Paik was responsible for making Jin work instead of celebrate his marriage, but now I have to question if Jacob either knew or made contact with Paik as well.

Leonard Simms & Sam Toomey

Talk about two overlooked yet very significant players in the game of Lost! I am almost 100% convinced that they have either been to or lived on the island; ponder the following familiar elements:
  • They served in the Navy
  • In the South Pacific
  • At a listening station
  • Heard numbers repeating on transmission 16 years ago
Alternate Reality & Fire and Ice theme alerts! Penny Widmore's team was set up at a listening station in a snowy locale...the POLAR opposite of where Leonard and Sam were stationed. And we now know that there was a strong military presence on the island before the 1970's, including one leader by the name of Charles Widmore.

And for further proof that both Hurley and Australia are essential to this entire story, consider the following:
Leonard: You used those numbers to play the lottery? You shouldn't have done that. YOU'VE OPENED THE BOX.

Hurley: Those numbers, where'd you get them?
Leonard: Sam Toomey, he heard them in Kalgoorlie. It's a town where he used to work.
Hurley: It's a town where?
Leonard: Australia.
In Season 4, Hurley states that "Australia is the key" while playing a game...Risk. When we met Leonard, he was also playing a game...Connect Four. I can connect a family foursome for you: Christian, Jack, Claire & Aaron (who was conceived in Australia).

Leonard's box line resulted in the first substantial "holy sh*t moment" I've had since I began this ReWatch. Hurley basically opened Pandora's box, blew the lid off of the island (so to speak). And this occurs during the same episode where we learn that Hurley owns Locke's box company. COME ON. Let's not forget about death boxes: the coffins of Christian Shephard and John Locke. And Ben's infamous description of Locke's magic box...
Picture a box. You know something about boxes, don't you John? What if I told you that somewhere on this island there is a very large box, and whatever you imagined - whatever you wanted to be in it when you opened that box...there it would be?
p.s. Martha Toomey is also fascinating because she is another candidate for some of my favorite theories; she has a missing limb and she was in a car crash.

Locke

After watching him get hit by a car in a flashback and also remove shrapnel from his leg on the island in Deus Ex Machina, I think Locke's theme song must be Tubthumping. "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down."

We never really learn HOW it is that Emily Locke knew her son was special. She gave him up for adoption immediately after delivering. However, the presence of Richard Alpert at Locke's birth and Grandma Locke's odd reaction to him makes me wonder about what she knew, who was involved with the car accident that put Emily into labor in the first place, etc.

In addition, even though he didn't grow up with either parent, it is obvious that both of them knew he was "amenable for coercion." Thus, the kidney con.

Did Locke ever tell anyone about his former paralysis and wheelchair besides Boone?

Mr. Paik

Last week, I listed out each incident on Lost that has featured a car accident. The speculation was that perhaps Jacob was behind the wheel during each.

However, during ...In Translation when Sun said "I'm just as important as his car company," I remembered that her father owned Paik Automotive/Paik Motors. Mr. Paik is presumably a 'bad' guy but remains one of the more enigmatic figures with regard to how he figures into the bigger picture and overall arc of the series. He was the reason that Jin and Sun were on Flight 815 after all (to deliver watches...to deliver time).

Walt

He and Locke hold the keys to so many unresolved mysteries. When Locke asked Walt, "got yourself an opponent?"...I hesitated but had to consider the NotLocke & Jacob and the black and white theme.

I also just loved that after Locke confronted Walt about burning the raft, they both talked about how much they like being on the island. Special, party of two.

THE Conversation

Taking MysteryMan/NotLocke's conversation with Jacob from the S5 finale into consideration:
Jacob: I take it you're here because of the ship.
MM: I am. How did they find the island?
Jacob: You'll have to ask them when they get here.
MM: I don't have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?
Jacob: You are wrong.
MM: Am I? They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.
Jacob: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.
Danielle Rousseau and her crew crashed on the island, and then they searched for the source of the transmission. Flight 815 crashed on the island, and then they searched for the source of the transmission. Talk about lack of progress...

In Numbers, Rousseau told Hurley that "the numbers are what brought me here; as it appears they brought you." And MM says of the ship, "you brought them here." In my opinion, we can now link Jacob and the numbers definitively.

Sam killed himself and Leonard went crazy after hearing the numbers. Rousseau lost her marbles and killed her entire crew after hearing the numbers. Questionably crazy Hurley just may be the last man standing when all is said and done, when it finally ends and ends once.
---

Thanks for reading along this week! Stay tuned for more Rewatch analysis next week, as we revisit major baggage from Jack (Do No Harm), Sayid (The Greater Good) and Kate (Born to Run).

Happy 4th!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts:

1) I don't know if Hurley crossing a bridge is a discrepancy - since clearly he believes post-institution (in season 1 at least) that he basically can't be hurt and only those around him will suffer?

2) Is Charlie's near-death on the bridge another foreshadowing of his relationship with death? I always hated the seemingly endless examples of "Charlie in danger!" in season one, but perhaps they all fold back into his season three storyline?

twyceshy said...

Some force seems to be testing Hurley. There's the bad luck he's had with the numbers and once he's on the island, I think mib is testing his goodness. his best friend dies, Libby dies, he's tempted to kill himself (and who is manifesting Dave?) but he has not given in. I think that is why he is the only one Jacob spoke to directly about the island. he is really special in this scheme

Anonymous said...

Talk about bad inferences. You could just as easily say both Rousseau and Hurley ate fruit on the island and that drove them nuts.

And yes, while it's interesting to think how Jacob maneuvered various groups to the island over the years, I don't think the numbers themselves were responsible.

thorsten said...

'Did Locke ever tell anyone about his former paralysis and wheelchair besides Boone?'

Well, Rose knows…
2/19 "S.O.S."

Todd W in NC said...

I had forgotten just how good "...In Translation" is. Probably one of the very best episodes from the first three seasons, if not the whole series. So many good things packed into one episode.

I had also forgotten about the encounter between Hurley & Danielle in Numbers. It reminds me of one of the time flashes from season 5 in which it sounds like young Rousseau and her team are hearing the numbers upon arrival, and some people say the voice on the radio sounds like Hurley's.

If it is Hurley's voice repeating the numbers, it's still a remaining mystery when he begins broadcasting them. But, it's more intriguing to think about the numbers possibly coming full circle, with Hurley possibly starting to transmit the numbers in the '70s, Danielle heard the numbers upon arrival, it could be Hurley's transmission that Toomey heard that made him think he was cursed, the numbers passed to Leonard, the numbers passed to Hurley & led to his plane crashing, and then Hurley gets to confer with Danielle about the numbers on the place they came from.

JayMac said...

Hurley on the bridge wasn't a discrepancy at all...he wasn't traumatized by the collapsing deck, he was traumatized because he feels responsible for the people who died (and I'm still convinced Dave is one of the people who died on the deck). He went across the rope bridge first before anyone else could get on, to make sure it was safe for everyone else.

idledandy said...

I agree about the Pandora's Box reference. There's also several mentions of hope, which was said to have remained in the box when all the ills were released. In particular, when Locke is asked in "Exodus" (I know, getting ahead) what he thinks is in the hatch, he says, "Hope."

The other thing that gave me the creeps was the Mousetrap game in "Deus Ex Machina." At first glance, it seemed to relate just to the episode, and how Locke gets conned because he feels like meeting his father is destiny. It's not destiny at all; it's cruel manipulation. Having seen what becomes of Locke in season 5? It seems the Mousetrap analogy applies to his entire arc.

Eko will later tell Locke not to mistake coincidence for fate. Perhaps a key theme is that what seems like fate is just manipulation.

neoloki said...

Uhhmmm, Rousseau did not lose her marbles and then kill her crew. Her crew lost their marbles after they went under the Temple and she had to kill them because they were a threat. This was made obvious during this Place is Death. If you have doubts rewatch the scene where she shoots Robert. robert intended to kill her but she removed the firing pin, then and only then did she shoot him.

You have very good articles and ideas but you are trying too hard to make connections that don't exist during this rewatch.

dreamingof8a said...

Re Hurley & the bridge:

At that point, wasn't it that he had an incredible amount of luck (on the island)? Winning games like table tennis ...

I thought that he went first cos he was convinced nothing could happen to him.

Ed S. said...

Re: Mousetrap from Dues Ex Machina

I've really been enjoying your rewatch posts so far. You've posed some interesting questions I hadn't picked up on. But I wonder if I'm the only one who's picked up on this about the mousetrap.

When the kid comes up to Locke and asks what it is, Locke says it's a game, his favorite game, one he used to play with his BROTHER. To my knowledge he's never referred to a brother before or since. He goes on to explain how you start out with all your pieces off the board, then one by one you put them together and then when your opponent is in place you spring the trap. This immediately hit home for me when I remembered Not Locke's line to Jacob when he said Not Locke had finally found his loophole, "Indeed I did, and you have no idea what I've gone through to be here." It was the holy crap moment, LOST is one big game of Mousetrap between Jacob and Not Locke, brothers!!! Even the cheese wheel comment was reminiscent of how Locke's fate was sealed once he turned the wheel in the cave.

Anonymous said...

JayMac, I like your idea on Dave, Hugos imaginary friend. I agree that he is someone that died from Hugos deck accident. Also consider that Libbeys husband was named David....might explain why she was in Santa Rosa.

Jenn said...

I am skipping ahead in the rewatch and just watched the end of Season 2. I also had the feeling that Hurley's friend Dave was actually Libby's husband David who died a month before she met Desmond in the coffee shop. Since we now know that Hurley can see and speak with the dead, I don't think that Dave was just in his imagination. He might have been hanging around Santa Rosa because Libby was there.

thorsten said...

While one-slippered 'Dave' tried to kill Hurley by making him jump off that cliff, D&C confirmed that he was not Libbys David…

Damon Lindelof: We like certain biblical names and David is one of them. David happened to be my father’s name, maybe that’s sort of subconsciously rattling around in there.

Carlton Cuse: The connection between the imaginary Dave and Dave his father was completely intentional, I mean we wanted basically Hurley to imagine a friend and have that be wrapped up in his unresolved relationship with his Dad, so that’s why his imaginary friend is named Dave.

Damon Lindelof: As to Libby’s ex, that’s an entirely different David we may or may not meet in the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your salient comments here. You are doing a great job.

Dude said...

Neoloki: I disagree that its obvious who is the crazy party. Everyone else was dead, and we don't know how they were killed. She may have removed the pin to defend herself from the crazies, or removed it to make killing them easier. Its not clear. Thats what is so cool about it.

Jo, these are great articles, but there are a couple things here and there that really stretch it. Such as:

"Locke: We're not the only people on this island, and we all know it. [seems like he points in general direction of The Statue as he says it]"

C'moooon.

Excellent stuff though!

tyler said...

i think it is highly notable that Walt and Locke have both stymied the Losties from leaving the island. And Locke is the only one who knew that Walt burned the raft. Of course Locke thwarted several attempts to leave as we are all well aware. Seems this duality (Jacob, MM) theory is really holding up so far.

Rene said...

Jo, great catches this week, especially about the boxes.

Ed S., I too noticed the brother comment by Locke while talking about the Mousetrap game and had a crazy thought about identical twins, then thought no, that's too much. I guess he was talking about one of the many brothers in his foster homes.

Also Ed, you wrote, "He goes on to explain how you start out with all your pieces off the board, then one by one you put them together and then when your opponent is in place you spring the trap." However to me this relates to a conversation at the end of the episode when Locke was encouraging Claire to reveal to him any new memories from her kidnapping and he said, "I'm good at putting bits and pieces together". Obviously not since he was so easily duped. But bits and pieces of memories, of lives/relationships, of games/traps....this is LOST!

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at how planed NotLocke was. Just watching now and realizing,"Oh, that's not Locke!" and "That is definatly Locke." The writers are brilliant!!

nomad said...

Rene: crazy thought about identical twins? and what about the Bad Twin book? ;)
thinks thinks thinks...

Dan said...

I do enjoy these Rewatch posts, Jo. They're fun and thoughtful.

Not just this one, but quite a few rewatch blogs and comments are taking on a kind of "big connection by association" feel. It's fun, and I wouldn't ever want to harshly criticize people for dreaming up possible connections for this endlessly provocative show.

But if some people are expecting the show to have been planned out *this* well, they're going to be very disappointed.

I don't doubt that Darlton have had a plan for the show, by the way.

But I fear that too many fans have really high expectations for how detailed that plan is.

In reference to Rewatch Post 4:
If they do ever explain that Jacob was behind all of those car accidents, it'd be hilarious to see the montage of Jacob acquiring all of those cars: breaking into this car, hotwiring that one, waiting in line at various car rental agencies....It wouldn't fit the tone of the show at all, but I like the idea of seeing the mundane aspects behind godly machinations.

Anonymous said...

Great read.

One thing: the only way Foucault could have been "good friends" with Jeremy Bentham is if he had a frozen donkey wheel.

Nurby said...

This is probably not even close to true, but I did start to think while watching Deus Ex Machina that maybe Locke's parents are not Locke's parents. Alpert has been watching him since a child, maybe this was in the plans to groom Locke for the island or something like that. Just a crazy thought that ran through my head.